Colobus Monkey Cuteness, Old Giant Tortoises and Excessive Tipping


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Africa » Tanzania » Zanzibar
September 21st 2018
Published: September 22nd 2018
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red colobus monkeyred colobus monkeyred colobus monkey

Jozani park, Zanzibar
Today is our last full day in Zanzibar/Tanzania and we'd left it free as a relaxation day, only there's things to do and see. The question was how to fit it all into a day. So I went on TripAdvisor and searched out a driver to get us around and organised. 'Friendly Taxis and Tours' had consistent 5 star reviews, so I contacted them and Salim arrived at just after 8.30am.

The first place was Jozani Forest, going south on the island. It is home to a colony of Zanzibar Red Colobus Monkeys of which there are only a few left in the wild.

Salim left us with another guide along with 4 other tourists after purchasing the permits we required to enter. We stepped into the forest and quickly came upon a group of small and adorable monkeys in the trees. At first most sat with their backs to us, but one tiny baby was springing about being very cute. Further into the forest, we met another group who were easier to view, were they not blocked by a group of school kids who eventually left.

It was lovely to see them in the wild (the monkeys
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Jozani park, Zanzibar
not the schoolkids) and know they are protected, this is the reason for the guide and permit as the general public are not allowed in alone or for very long. The monkeys were lovely to watch but there were quite a few peckerhead tourists who are unable to watch and listen without flapping their big mouths. This always winds me up, as part of the experience of watching wild animals is hearing their noises and the sounds of their habitats, but what I mostly heard was incessant yapping in various European languages.

To make the tour longer, our guide took us around another bit of forest with huge trees and tiny frogs the size of my thumbnail. He was very knowledgeable but I struggled at times to understand his accent and in the heat, it was hard to keep up concentration. We also saw a distant squirrel and giant snail. Finally we were driven to a mangrove that had a raised walkway to prevent us getting soaked. This mangrove protects Zanzibar from huge tidal waves and getting flooded, so conservationists are trying to convince people to stop chopping it down. It was a very unusual place and I imagine
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Jozani park, Zanzibar
quite creepy at dusk in the mist.

Talking of accents, Salim's English is very good, but he also has a strong accent so I had to be very attentive when he was telling us Zanzibar history - he told us a lot. He also kept making the same jokes, every time he saw a cow (there were a lot of cows) he'd say "Zanzibar elephant!" And when we bought some water, he said "Zanzibar champagne" and so on throughout the day. When he asked if we'd tried 'Zanzibar coke', I was taken aback until I realised I'd misunderstood due to his accent. The way he pronounces coke sounds like a man's wedding tackle.

The roads around here were better than those to Cheetah's Rock and at times almost ok. But the traffic is awful and standard of driving hair-raising to say the least. And like all places Glyn and I visit, talking on the phone (hand held) whilst driving is compulsory.

The next destination was the spice farm after stopping to get Zanzibar Champagne. Glyn has great memories of doing a spice tour here in 1993, so his expectations were high. I have awful memories of a
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Jozani park, Zanzibar
spice garden tour in Sri Lanka with a slimy conman, so my expectations could not be much worse. Our expectations met somewhere in the middle.

Zanzibar is known for its spices but doesn't export them anymore, so this community area is for local use. Glyn was given a container made with a large leaf and bendy twig as another guide took us around trees, roots and leaves, cutting bits off for us to sniff. Each piece was dropped into Glyn's leaf container and he was very pleased to be carrying it about. My concern was about the extra man following us and weaving silly hats from long leaves - I knew where this was going and knew it to be unavoidable.

Another guy carrying a shallow basket full of soaps made from things grown around here appeared, "a mobile shop", we were told, how convenient! But no thank you.

Hat weaving man had also made me a leaf bag and placed Glyn's leaf container inside it leaving me to carry the lot, thanks a bunch! Yet another bloke turned up, attached a rope to his feet and demonstrated how to climb a palm tree. He shouted a
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Jozani park, Zanzibar
lot, did some leg and arm waving and was entertaining, but did not get to the top or get us fresh coconuts. But he did have another coconut that he carved a hole into for us to drink. We also had the flesh and that was very nice. Everyone wanted tipping and it was getting a bit much considering we'd already paid for this. It ended with being fed a variety of fresh fruits, being made to wear the stupid hats whilst being photographed and a trip to the spice stand to spend more money.

Salim took us back to Stone Town to get a small boat to Changu Island, aka Prison Island. Salim came with us on the half hour journey with the silent boatman who also expected a tip. This tiny island was once used to imprison disobedient slaves and it would have been appalling in the heat and the original windows in the prison are but slits. The main reason to visit is the colony of giant tortoises, the oldest being 194 years old and huge! Salim got us leaves with which to feed them and they were mostly interested, but slowly. Every move was slow,
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Spice tour, Zanzibar
with frequent rests. Salim said the reason that they live to a great age is their slowness, as lack of hurrying means lack of stress. He showed us how to massage them on the neck and legs, they appeared to be really enjoying it and the effect made them stand right up. I managed to step in tortoise poo and it was quite stinky. It was a very large area with ponds that swell during high tide and places for tortoises to hide from tourists who must have tortoise selfies.

That was just about the size of the island, so I went for a paddle in the clear blue sea as Glyn walked along the jetty with Salim. On the way, Salim had given us a very lengthy history of Zanzibar and its mix of cultures. He made me guess his ancestry and I hadn't a hope as his Dad is from Oman his Mum from Mozambique. The trip back was thankfully quiet and I enjoyed the breeze as we got soaked by the sea spray. Salim took us back to our hotel, concerned that we haven't done a Stone Town Tour or booked a taxi to the ferry
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Changu island, Zanzibar
tomorrow. By coincidence, Salim conducts Stone Town Tours and taxi services, who would have guessed? It had been a good day, but we could have done without the excessive tipping for every man, dog and fart.

The day was rounded off with a lovely veggie Indian meal that was pretty cheap, even the beer was cheaper than previous places!


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giant tortoise

Changu island, Zanzibar
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prison

Changu island, Zanzibar
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Changu island, Zanzibar


23rd September 2018
red colobus monkey

Monkey
Great shot.
24th September 2018
red colobus monkey

monkey
thank you!

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